Stardock hires Civ 5 lead designer Jon Shafer

By on January 4, 2011 5:26:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

HallowedBMy...

Join Date 02/2010
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http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/67016

 

Um, wow. This can only lead to good things.

Arg, you beat me to it: http://forums.elementalgame.com/403448/get;2859792

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January 4, 2011 6:45:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 I buy elemental to get away from the crap that is Civ V only to have the lead designer of that crapfest work on elemental. Atleast we know elemental wont require steam

 

To Frogboy: 

I personally moved from civ5 to Elemental, even with the bad release reports, because of the design decisions among other things.

 

To me he is one of many who destroyed civ .. and now he comes here

 

Sidenote: I guess since i can't play elemental without it CTD i shouldn't be as annoyed by this as i am but wtf man.

 

**Edited to remove my silly arse hyperbole caused by my initial ire to this news.

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January 4, 2011 7:51:19 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I too came to Elemental after being very disappointed with Civ V, but I do not think that the lead designer is the person to blame for Civ V.

We don't know what requirements were given to him to do deliver to - I expect it was effectively like - I want my nephew, who is 5 (or is that his IQ), to be able to play this game, and because he will never win no matter how easy, no need to do a victory scene.

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January 4, 2011 8:07:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

To those already whining:

http://forums.elementalgame.com/403506/page/1/#2859941

Oh hey, turns out Schafer was hired to do what he's actually good at! How about that, eh?

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January 4, 2011 8:20:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Look on the bright side... They didn't decide to hire anyone from Quicksilver.

 

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January 4, 2011 8:28:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Games are rarely the result of one person.  And hiring Jon Schafer to be an expert moddability-enabler is not entirely out of the ball park.  After all, there is no doubting he is an expert modder, so he may be able to bring something to Elemental modding.  I think it's important to note he is not being hired to be a designer.

Best regards,
Steven.

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January 4, 2011 8:54:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Fistalis,
Ya he gets to ruin this whole generation of TBS. I buy elemental to get away from the crap that is Civ V only to have the lead designer of that crapfest work on elemental...

Yes, because Shafer funded the project entirely of his own accord, created the design brief and instructed the development team to create a dumbed down version of Civilisation.  Because all developers are self funded powerhouses who don't have to answer to Publishers or stock holders.

Honestly, do you even understand his job description?

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January 4, 2011 9:08:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ZehDon,

Quoting Fistalis, reply 1Ya he gets to ruin this whole generation of TBS. I buy elemental to get away from the crap that is Civ V only to have the lead designer of that crapfest work on elemental...
Yes, because Shafer funded the project entirely of his own accord, created the design brief and instructed the development team to create a dumbed down version of Civilisation.  Because all developers are self funded powerhouses who don't have to answer to Publishers or stock holders.

Honestly, do you even understand his job description?

LEAD DESIGNER.. is the main visionary of the game...  He was the one preaching in interviews about the BETTER AI.. the greatness of 1UPT etc etc. He put his face and reputation on the line with CIV V so he can live with mine anyone elses response to it.

 

Futher more when he decided to address anyone about the issues the community brought up did he post it to 2k forums? NO. Did he post it to Civ fanatics ? no. He posted it on mofo QT3. Shows you what kind of elitist he is(or maybe he was just trying to kiss up to tom chick the only honest reviewer of Civ V). Which really irks me because part of the reason i decided to buy elemental was the conversations between stardock and the customers.. and this arse gets rewarded with a fat contract after totally ignoring the fan base.

 

I was more than happy to post my comments and go about my business but if you really wanna open this can of worms.

The other reason i bought elemental was civ V sucked because of its DESIGN.

His vision was 1UPT (being a fan of panzer general and all).. which lead to just about every other ISSUE in civ V from my perspective. The AI cannot handle a 1upt design on a world map without more  design time than ANY company is willing to put into it. If you have a vision you need to make sure that its even plausible with your given resources.. and his whole vision, although in concept is good.. was simply unrealistic.

 

He decided "hey lets have the AI play like a player instead of a ruler". My other huge complaint about civ V the psycho diplomacy. So yes.. as far as i am concerned HE IS THE RUIN OF CIV V.

 

The only major complaint i have about Civ V that wasn't his fault is the steam requirement. That I can blame on 2k.

 

I can nerd rage about civ V all day long. I would have preferred to leave it as it was but you insisted on playing the "oh it wasn't his fault" BS. If he's not responsible then he shouldn't be putting lead designer of Civ V on his resume.

 

Now does that mean he won't do a fabulous job at his position at stardock? no. But it does mean to me and others his arrival at stardock is not seen as a good thing.  Simply because he ruined my favorite franchise as far as i'm concerned. Not to mention he negative view many people have of him is now tainting elemental as well.

 

 

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January 4, 2011 9:15:22 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Look at this from another angle: he switched jobs.

To me, that says that he was unsatisfied with his previous position.  Whether that is due to inability to implement his vision, lousy working conditions, etc., we don't know.  But most game developers I know (worked with, known) will stay with a horrible job (and get kicked time and again - game developers just don't learn!) if they get to have autonomy and implement their own vision and spin on things and do "cool things".  I can imagine that when your entire job *is* vision and design, if you don't get your way as the *lead designer* and feel powerless, you will start looking for a new job.

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January 4, 2011 10:58:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Or look at it from this angle: he's not in charge of Elemental the way he was in charge of Civ5.

Or look at it from this angle: Elemental needs all the experienced game developers it can get.

Or look at it from this angle: If the game improves you can still hate him because he's just one person on a team of people working to make Elemental better.

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January 4, 2011 11:06:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Fistalis,
LEAD DESIGNER.. is the main visionary of the game...  He was the one preaching in interviews about the BETTER AI.. the greatness of 1UPT etc etc. He put his face and reputation on the line with CIV V so he can live with mine anyone elses response to it...

So no, you don't have any idea what his job entails, and are in fact basing your assumption of his responsibilies for the failings of Civilisation V off of the literal definitions of his assigned title.  Please, educate yourself as to the happening within a Video Game Development Company who is paid by a Publisher to create a game and then return.

Ask yourself, if he had such unwavering control over Civilisation V - so much so, that his word was final and Civilisation V represents his take on the game and on one elses, why did he leave, citing reasons including not being able to make the games he wanted to.  Sounds like Jon Shafer was tired of being told what to make, to me.  Like a lot of other Developers who are bought, owned and directed by Publishers and blamed for under performing titles.

The rest of your points are moot.

Quoting Fistalis,
...Not to mention he negative view many people have of him is now tainting elemental as well.

Apart from yourself, I've seen one other person complain.  You are not in the majority, so please do not pretend that you speak for others.  You have blamed this man for the failings of Civilisation V, however this in no way means you are correct. 

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January 4, 2011 11:16:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


The rest of your points are moot.

the BIG DESIGN DECISIONS HE MADE RUINED THE GAME FOR ME HOW IS THAT MOOT? Are you claiming that 1UPT wasn't his idea.. seriously??.

Jon Shafer:"I'm certain you're familiar with Panzer General? it was actually the first game that I ever bought, and it's something that stuck with me and I'm a big fan of that game. I felt the combat system in it was a really good system that they had. It wasn't until later that I then found Civilization and then started playing that. One of the things that I'd always wanted to do was create a game that had the scope of Civilization but the combat mechanics of Panzer General, so that was kind of the inspiration behind what we ended up with in Civ V. We started off with something very similar to Panzer General, but it changed and evolved over time as we worked out what the details were. The general thinking was though that what was in Panzer General was a good start and we can expand from there."

 

You ignored the majority of my post then went into a fallacy about majorities. I never stated He had absolute control of everything that was put into civ V.. simply that he had enough control to ruin it for me.

 

That being said.. the new position at stardock may be more suitable for him.. however it doesn't make me hugely happy to have the guy whom was lead designer on the latest iteration of my favorite franchise to join the team for the game i bought in response to my displeasure with the game he had designed.

 

Further more.. if the lead designer isnt.. the team leader then why is he called the LEAD designer. I know when i'm running a crew everything that crew does or doesn't do falls on me so how is it any different for a lead designer? I'll try that and see if it flies "Oh corporate said I had to finish those reports and i didn't have time so I just fudged the numbers its not my fault"

Please explain why the LEAD DESIGNER.. isn't responsible for  the game by your theory. I mean what according to you he just mops the bathrooms and gets everyone coffee so its not his fault?

 

Edit: Honestly this would have been over after my first post if people wouldn't have kept questioning how i can hold a lead designer responsible for the game him and his team produces. I mean seriously are you people kidding me..a lead designer isn't responsible for the game??


I mean really.. it was simply. I am displeased with this fact. the end. yet you guys feel the need to turn this into some kind of debate.

 

And regardless of my displeasure.. welcome jon. I hope your alot happier at stardock and conversing with the fans.

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January 4, 2011 11:32:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Before everyone crucifies Jon and Brad for hiring him, let's see what kind of work they produce.

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January 4, 2011 11:35:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines.

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January 4, 2011 11:39:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Will a few amphetamines help you finish a game of Civ IV in one sitting?

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January 4, 2011 11:54:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm really happy that Stardock (and Elemental) have got this great pool of talent now. Jon, I guess you'll be reading this, so welcome aboard.

As far as the Civ5 vs Elemental debate is concerned, I like playing CivV a lot. Love the hexes and the one unit per hex. I can understand the angst of people who have been purists about the Civ series but I'm not in that camp. The only reason I had Civ4 installed was to play Fall from Heaven.

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January 5, 2011 12:08:45 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Greetings all! Proud to be joining the Stardock team, and expect to work on a lot of great projects here in the future.

There's been some assumptions here about what my joining Stardock will mean for the games the studio will be putting out from now on. Fear not all - they'll be clearly recognizable as Stardock games. One thing that I will say though, is that Stardock's games are awfully complex, and probably need to be streamlined some so as to not confuse new players. I can't talk about too many details on what our detailed plans are yet, but a little tease can’t hurt.

Right now I'm thinking we'll trim the interface down to one big button in the middle of the screen, 1024 pixels wide by 768 pixels tall (approximately - will vary based on the resolution of the user’s monitor). The text on this button will say "Win the Game." I've had some discussions with Brad and the marketing team about this, and everyone is really excited by the possibilities. We've seen it work well in products from other publishers, and I really feel that this new direction will result in Stardock's games appealing to a much larger audience. We'll do some focus testing and see how things go. If people are still having some trouble grasping the gameplay concepts we may have to simplify things a bit more. I'll keep you guys posted!

Jon

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January 5, 2011 12:13:54 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Jon Shafer,


Greetings all! Proud to be joining the Stardock team, and expect to work on a lot of great projects here in the future.

There's been some assumptions here about what my joining Stardock will mean for the games the studio will be putting out from now on. Fear not all - they'll be clearly recognizable as Stardock games. One thing that I will say though, is that Stardock's games are awfully complex, and probably need to be streamlined some so as to not confuse new players. I can't talk about too many details on what our detailed plans are yet, but a little tease can’t hurt.

Right now I'm thinking we'll trim the interface down to one big button in the middle of the screen, 1024 pixels wide by 768 pixels tall (approximately - will vary based on the resolution of the user’s monitor). The text on this button will say "Win the Game." I've had some discussions with Brad and the marketing team about this, and everyone is really excited by the possibilities. We've seen it work well in products from other publishers, and I really feel that this new direction will result in Stardock's games appealing to a much larger audience. We'll do some focus testing and see how things go. If people are still having some trouble grasping the gameplay concepts we may have to simplify things a bit more. I'll keep you guys posted!

Jon

 

Touche

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January 5, 2011 12:14:58 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hmmm.   Hiring disgruntled Firaxis staff sounds like a good idea to me.   

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January 5, 2011 12:19:17 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

That's just hilarious.

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January 5, 2011 12:23:24 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Jon Shafer,

Greetings all! Proud to be joining the Stardock team, and expect to work on a lot of great projects here in the future.

There's been some assumptions here about what my joining Stardock will mean for the games the studio will be putting out from now on. Fear not all - they'll be clearly recognizable as Stardock games. One thing that I will say though, is that Stardock's games are awfully complex, and probably need to be streamlined some so as to not confuse new players. I can't talk about too many details on what our detailed plans are yet, but a little tease can’t hurt.

Right now I'm thinking we'll trim the interface down to one big button in the middle of the screen, 1024 pixels wide by 768 pixels tall (approximately - will vary based on the resolution of the user’s monitor). The text on this button will say "Win the Game." I've had some discussions with Brad and the marketing team about this, and everyone is really excited by the possibilities. We've seen it work well in products from other publishers, and I really feel that this new direction will result in Stardock's games appealing to a much larger audience. We'll do some focus testing and see how things go. If people are still having some trouble grasping the gameplay concepts we may have to simplify things a bit more. I'll keep you guys posted!

Jon

That was awesome! I'm glad you have a sense of humor Welcome!

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January 5, 2011 12:23:28 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Jon Shafer,
Right now I'm thinking we'll trim the interface down to one big button in the middle of the screen, 1024 pixels wide by 768 pixels tall (approximately - will vary based on the resolution of the user’s monitor). The text on this button will say "Win the Game." I've had some discussions with Brad and the marketing team about this, and everyone is really excited by the possibilities. We've seen it work well in products from other publishers, and I really feel that this new direction will result in Stardock's games appealing to a much larger audience. We'll do some focus testing and see how things go. If people are still having some trouble grasping the gameplay concepts we may have to simplify things a bit more. I'll keep you guys posted!

Now this has replayability written all over it!

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January 5, 2011 12:32:50 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting AlLanMandragoran,

Quoting Jon Shafer, reply 16Right now I'm thinking we'll trim the interface down to one big button in the middle of the screen, 1024 pixels wide by 768 pixels tall (approximately - will vary based on the resolution of the user’s monitor). The text on this button will say "Win the Game." I've had some discussions with Brad and the marketing team about this, and everyone is really excited by the possibilities. We've seen it work well in products from other publishers, and I really feel that this new direction will result in Stardock's games appealing to a much larger audience. We'll do some focus testing and see how things go. If people are still having some trouble grasping the gameplay concepts we may have to simplify things a bit more. I'll keep you guys posted!

Now this has replayability written all over it!

 

Excuse me but I do not agree with this at all, this will ruin all my expectations for Elemental. Allow me to explain, I bought a new monitor that can display resolution at 1680x 1050 specifically for Elemental because I was PROMISED a high quality level of graphics support back in pre-Beta ("....will be....and graphics...support..." - Frogboy) and I would appreciate it if the button was available with a high res 1680x1050 setting as well. Outside of this glaring issue I think this will do wonders for gameplay and may also be appreciated by our modding community as it unlocks a lot of potential features.

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January 5, 2011 12:48:39 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Ratatosk7,

Quoting AlLanMandragoran, reply 21
Quoting Jon Shafer, reply 16Right now I'm thinking we'll trim the interface down to one big button in the middle of the screen, 1024 pixels wide by 768 pixels tall (approximately - will vary based on the resolution of the user’s monitor). The text on this button will say "Win the Game." I've had some discussions with Brad and the marketing team about this, and everyone is really excited by the possibilities. We've seen it work well in products from other publishers, and I really feel that this new direction will result in Stardock's games appealing to a much larger audience. We'll do some focus testing and see how things go. If people are still having some trouble grasping the gameplay concepts we may have to simplify things a bit more. I'll keep you guys posted!

Now this has replayability written all over it!
 

Excuse me but I do not agree with this at all, this will ruin all my expectations for Elemental. Allow me to explain, I bought a new monitor that can display resolution at 1680x 1050 specifically for Elemental because I was PROMISED a high quality level of graphics support back in pre-Beta ("....will be....and graphics...support..." - Frogboy) and I would appreciate it if the button was available with a high res 1680x1050 setting as well. Outside of this glaring issue I think this will do wonders for gameplay and may also be appreciated by our modding community as it unlocks a lot of potential features.

Shush before they start streamlining user feedback

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January 5, 2011 1:13:50 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Jon Shafer,

Greetings all! Proud to be joining the Stardock team, and expect to work on a lot of great projects here in the future.

There's been some assumptions here about what my joining Stardock will mean for the games the studio will be putting out from now on. Fear not all - they'll be clearly recognizable as Stardock games. One thing that I will say though, is that Stardock's games are awfully complex, and probably need to be streamlined some so as to not confuse new players. I can't talk about too many details on what our detailed plans are yet, but a little tease can’t hurt.

Right now I'm thinking we'll trim the interface down to one big button in the middle of the screen, 1024 pixels wide by 768 pixels tall (approximately - will vary based on the resolution of the user’s monitor). The text on this button will say "Win the Game." I've had some discussions with Brad and the marketing team about this, and everyone is really excited by the possibilities. We've seen it work well in products from other publishers, and I really feel that this new direction will result in Stardock's games appealing to a much larger audience. We'll do some focus testing and see how things go. If people are still having some trouble grasping the gameplay concepts we may have to simplify things a bit more. I'll keep you guys posted!

Jon

I haven't posted on SD forums in a long time, but this got me in.  Reading that first paragraph I nearly fell out of my chair, and by paragraph 2 was laughing my ass off.  Jon, you're awesome.  Keep it up and hope to see many more posts from you, Brad, Kael, Trip and all.  You guys have lifelong fans no matter what's happened in the past year.  I finally bought Elemental a few weeks ago and can't wait til I have time to play.

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January 5, 2011 1:25:41 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Jon Shafer,

Greetings all! Proud to be joining the Stardock team, and expect to work on a lot of great projects here in the future.

There's been some assumptions here about what my joining Stardock will mean for the games the studio will be putting out from now on. Fear not all - they'll be clearly recognizable as Stardock games. One thing that I will say though, is that Stardock's games are awfully complex, and probably need to be streamlined some so as to not confuse new players. I can't talk about too many details on what our detailed plans are yet, but a little tease can’t hurt.

Right now I'm thinking we'll trim the interface down to one big button in the middle of the screen, 1024 pixels wide by 768 pixels tall (approximately - will vary based on the resolution of the user’s monitor). The text on this button will say "Win the Game." I've had some discussions with Brad and the marketing team about this, and everyone is really excited by the possibilities. We've seen it work well in product from other publishers, and I really feel that this new direction will result in Stardock's games appealing to a much larger audience. We'll do some focus testing and see how things go. If people are still having some trouble grasping the gameplay concepts we may have to simplify things a bit more. I'll keep you guys posted!

Jon

I have never once complained about Elemental despite its many problems, but this announcement has to be an April Fools joke.

Civ 5 is an unplayable mess.  Jon Shafer is primarily responsible for its failure.

He and all those involved with Civ 5 have not even had the balls to admit that there might be problems with the game.

Then he comes here and his first post is definitely asinine and borderline insulting to everyone who has wasted at least $100 on Elemental and Civ 5.

I don't find it funny in the least.

Perhaps a better first post would have been a heartfelt apology for ruining the greatest, most successful franchise in the history of computer gaming this side of WoW, along with an assurance from everyone here at Stardock that he will definitely not be allowed to make any decisions about the future of Elemental.

All I have seen from him is some moderately successful features in an add-on to an add-on to a rock solid game.

Perhaps it is hard for a 25 year old to appreciate just how lucky he is to even have a job in the current economy.

There are plenty of out of work people in America that have lost their jobs even though performing that job well.

Jon failed miserably at his last job.  Most people that fail that badly don't get a second chance so soon, if at all.

 

 

 

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